On 26 February 2020, the Senate referred an inquiry into domestic violence with particular regard to violence against women and their children to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for report by 13 August 2020.
The Inquiry has been completed earlier than was scheduled and its report is available here.
This article describes the early completion of the report and the adverse reaction it received from the feminist lobby. I have yet to fully read the report, but one useful feature is a brief summary of the many enquiries that preceded it.
From an egalitarian perspective the dissenting report from Senator Rex Patrick is disappointing – and hypocritical beyond belief in terms of what was, wasn’t, and should have been addressed by the Committee.
I note too that the term ‘male victim’ appears only twice in the 44 page report, in each case only as a brief passing reference to recommendations from earlier inquiries.
2. The Inquiry (Revised version)
What do you do when a powerful and vocal part of your audience isn’t happy? Yes, that’s right, you commence another inquiry:
This article discusses the submission by ‘Women’s Safety NSW’ which can be read in full here (see #150). Women’s Safety calls for “$12 billion over 12 years to invest in evidence-based solutions to the nation’s domestic and family violence scourge“.
Those making submissions were asked to address one or more of the topics listed in the terms of reference.
I haven’t written anything more about the topic. Yet at the same time, it is something which is put in our face every time the media (TV) runs an item on domestic violence and finishes with the advice to call (such and such agency) if “you are troubled by violent or abusive behaviour from your partner”. Which leaves everyone thinking that at least some help is available for (all) victims of domestic behaviour. But it’s not so.
Most agencies in the domestic violence sector will either turn male callers away or will (officially) cater for them, but on the (wink/nudge) understanding that they are either abusers trying to locate their partners, or are simply abusers in denial.
But now the topic of whether domestic violence help-lines actually do assist male callers has been raised again by an English researcher, Deborah Powney (Twitter id = @Firebird_psych). On 14 April 2020 Deborah began sending daily tweets as per the following:
Simple question. Shouldn’t take long to answer. And she waited. And while she did, she asked one or two further questions, for example:
“Could you provide the numbers of female perpetrators you have helped in the past 12 month? Could also provide the number of female perpetrator programmes that Respect have accredited in the same time period?” (To @RespectUK on 29 April 2020)
It took until 15 May 2020 before Deborah received an initial response.
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
Deborah responded the same day, as follows: “Thank you for your response. Just to clarify – you do not help male victims at all – other than ‘immediate’ referal to the @RespectUK men’s helpline. Is that correct?”
@RefugeCharity further responded (also 15 May 2020)
“Hi, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is branded as a women’s helpline, however if we do receive calls from men the Helpline our staff will always listen, risk assess, address any safeguarding issues and validate the experience. The national domestic abuse helpline, which Refuge runs, is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days week. If male callers contact us, we refer them immediately to the men’s advice line, which is a specialist service for male victims of domestic abuse. They will then refer them to the Men’s Advice Line which provides specialist support for men.”
On 15 May 2020 Deborah then asked:
“Can @RefugeCharity@ukhomeoffice be clear what support the 24 hour National DA Helpline gives to male victims of domestic abuse when the @RespectUK taxpayer- funded “Men’s Advice Line” is closed (from either 5pm or 8pm weekdays to 9am & weekends) @nicolejacobsST@pritipatel”
@martintandc @RespectUK @JoTodd4 Could you clearly explain why you make specific reference to male terrorists in your Toolkit for working with Male Victims of domestic abuse for the Men’s Advice Line? @nicolejacobsST @pritipatel @ukhomeoffice @mankind @MartinDaubney @PhilipDaviesUK
“For instance, the biggest denominator in acts of terrorism and mass killings is that almost all of the perpetrators are men. Women suffer mental illness at roughly the same rate as men, but almost none commit large-scale violence. Similarly, the levels of suicide for men are much greater then for women, because of social pressure on men not to seek help to deal with their emotional problems”. (Source)
From reading this material it seems obvious to me that staff in the relevant agencies had not considered how male callers were being dealt with, let alone how they should be dealt with. The topic was not even ‘on the radar’ as it was seemingly seen to be unimportant, and offering to assist men at all was seen as merely a token gesture.
You might wish to now refer to Deborah’s Twitter account to see if any further responses have been received from government, domestic violence industry, or readers.
(Some information about Deborah’s current research project regarding the experience of male victims of domestic violence can be found here.)
Readers may also find this paper to be of interest:
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the feminist lobby has claimed that there has been a surge* in domestic violence. (*Note that the term ‘surge’ has been well and truly overtaken by now, more recently by ‘staggering increase‘ or ‘driving a spike‘). This trend has manifested itself across several countries, with the UN Women agency being a significant player. UN Women has produced guidelines in relation to gathering data about domestic violence against women.
The feminist lobby has linked this alleged increase in violence to, in particular, the common practice of governments requiring people to quarantine in their own homes. The proof offered to support the feminist position has primarily been claimed to be significant increases in call volume to DV help-lines (largely operated by feminist NGO’s). There have also been similar claims made in relation to alleged increases in traffic to web sites dealing with the welfare of victims of DV.
In only one of the media articles I read, prior to uploading this post, was reference made to an increase in the number of calls to police. This did not relate to increases in the number of charges laid, nor punishments meted out, but rather to queries made by people concerned about a perceived threat of DV.
I would suggest, as have others, that domestic violence is the feminist lobby’s primary cash-cow. Consider too, for example, the salary of DV agency bosses such as Sandra Horley, who is reported to receive a remuneration package of more than £210,000. The British Prime Minister is currently paid approx. £155,000.
To base government policy, even just one-off hand-outs of public money, on unverified allegations, is at best naïve. And when such claims are being provided by individuals with a vested interest in promoting a public view of a problem that they assert to be large & growing. Well, one might label such vested interest ‘ideological bias’, ‘pecuniary interest’, or worse as per the flow-chart below (Source). But whatever you call it, it is by no means competent, objective, unbiased research.
It is particularly annoying that whilst the feminist-saturated domestic violence industry is loudly proclaiming a jump in violence in the home, they are maintaining their silence with respect to the reality of female-perpetrated assaults/abuse of men and children.
The other galling issue, although unrelated to Covid-19, is that I have belatedly learnt that, in the UK, the rate of women being killed by their partner was now at a 40 year low (Source). You would think that this would be shouted from the rooftops, wouldn’t you? Well, unless people sought to maintain perception of a growing epidemic. One that desperately demands further public funding.
What follows now are a series of media releases or articles dealing with the issue, presented in reverse chronological order:
“The Andrews government has announced an extra $20m for family violence prevention, citing an increase in demand for “perpetrator services” during the coronavirus pandemic. Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence Gabrielle Williams cited an 11 per cent increase since last year in calls to the Men’s Referral Service.”
Domestic violence on the rise during pandemic (13 July 2020) “The survey of 15,000 Australian women in May provides the most detailed information in the world about the prevalence and nature of domestic violence experienced by women during the pandemic.” How many men did they say were surveyed? That would be *none*
No spike in home violence, police say (10 June 2020) ‘The Australian’ newspaper tells us that NSW authorities “almost doubled domestic violence checks” but found “no increase in abuse rates“.
“Professor Wendt says women are experiencing violence at a more “intense level” as they try to survive the restrictions and plan their escape as measures lift”. Needless to say, what constitutes a “more intense level” is left to the imagination, and no supporting statistics are provided to quantify intensity.
” … I have just had 50 front-line workers on a statewide forum on the phone and all of them are saying how much busier it is… and now the stats come back to prove it”. “Stats” that agency staff themselves generated … what could go wrong?
“Ms Foster said the figures were concerning because they conflicted with a recent report from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, which found “domestic violence assaults recorded by police did not increase in March 2020, despite social distancing measures commencing … But Ms Foster said the report had sent a “dangerous message” to victims and policymakers. She said it was “irresponsible to put out a report drawing a conclusion that fears that domestic violence would increase hadn’t been realised.”
“The Queensland Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer, said authorities across the country were grappling with an “amplification” of abuse caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and tough health restrictions.
Domestic violence crisis centres in the state have experienced a 40 per cent spike in calls for help since the start of the pandemic …”
“The most concerning statistic came from Google data, with the Federal Government seeing a 75 per cent increase in searches about family and domestic violence compared to the average number of searches over the previous five years.”
“Alison Macdonald, acting chief executive of Domestic Violence Victoria, said there was clear evidence a surge in demand was coming. “We know from international evidence that there are spikes in family violence in post emergency and post crisis situations,” she said. “We know from Australian experience with bushfires, with floods and with cyclones.”
“To estimate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on efforts to end gender-based violence, Avenir Health modelled a delay in the scale-up of prevention efforts as attention and resources are devoted to COVID-19, and an increase in violence during the period of lockdown. Assuming a slow start to the scale-up of prevention programmes (i.e., a 2-year delay in 2020 and 2021), followed by a rapid expansion of prevention programs in the middle of the decade, an estimated 2 million additional instances of intimate partner violence in 2020-2021 are expected.”
“COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause a one-third reduction in progress towards ending gender-based violence by 2030”
“For every 3 months the lockdown continues, an additional 15 million additional cases of gender-based violence are expected”
That’s right, no police reports were used to generate predictions. It was all based on modelling. Remarkable. And of course, no mention anywhere of female perpetration.
“The Federal Government will launch an inquiry into the family law system, after accusations the court system is failing vulnerable Australians.
Coalition backbenchers and the crossbench, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, have been calling for an inquiry for some time, arguing the system is too expensive and slow.
The inquiry will be run by former social services minister and long-serving Liberal MP Kevin Andrews.” (Source)
The feminist lobby and their domestic violence industry took great umbrage at this announcement. And so it began.
The Committee’s home page can be found here, and details concerning the making of submissions can be found here.
The first specific matter that the feminists got upset about was Pauline Hanson’s reference to the practice whereby some women make false claims against their former partners in family court, esp. in relation to domestic violence and sexual assault (refer example of outrage in the media).
In terms of topics related to the treatment of victims, another issue was that of couples counselling (related article). The feminist DV Industry is generally opposed to this practice, claiming that it exposes women to additional unnecessary risk. But not everyone was of the same view (related article).
Another curious complaint from various feminist spokespersons was that there had been too many inquiries, and the proposed inquiry was both unnecessary and would delay progress. This is extraordinary given the ongoing vocal urging for more inquiries/commissions/etc despite the many state and federal inquiries that have taken place – particularly related to domestic violence. A number of these inquiries can be seen listed in the relevant section of my Table of Contents page.
Submissions to the Family Law Inquiry have now closed, and a final report was due to be submitted in October 2020. On 31 August 2020, both Houses of Parliament agreed to extend the reporting date to the last sitting day in February 2021. An interim report was subsequently released on 7 October 2020.
In closing, how many, if any, of the following groups explicitly represent fathers/men and/or male victims of domestic abuse? How many have anything approaching gender equality with regards to their board and/or their staff?
Other posts in this blog that you might find relevant include:
The first gender-related issue raised in the campaign proper was the use of gender quotas to attempt to increase the number of female politicians. The emphasis here was on bashing the Liberal Party regarding its (alleged) serious ‘women problem’ (example).
Not surprisingly the issue of domestic violence soon made an appearance:
I know, it’s an aside, but I can’t help but wonder how many Australian female pollies have belted their partners, and whether their colleagues would support them in the same manner that British MP Ms Layla Moran was supported:
The next thing, the feminist lobby looked around and noticed lobbying by the Australian Better Families Party, and no doubt some of the many, many, reader’s comments being attached to pro-feminist articles in the mainstream media.
Misleading political campaigns? No thanks, we’ve had enough, by Anna Kerr (22 March 2019). Who would have thought that seeking recognition and support for male victims of domestic violence occurs because the Men’s Rights Movement “denies the gendered nature of domestic violence”? Well, Team Harpy clearly does.
What did Tuesday’s Federal Budget actually do for women? We break it down (4 April 2019) Note that ‘Domestic Violence’ is listed as something we (women) “got”, so I guess male victims shouldn’t get their hopes up then? “But on the whole, women are not the winners in this budget“. Huh? Countless millions down for women, but apparently someone else’s way better off.
And then … “Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Saturday announce a $75 million package to help women back into the workforce after looking after their children or elderly parents.
Mr Frydenberg said career checks will be aimed at women aged 30 to 45 so they can get professional advice and training.
Sport is also on the agenda for the prime minister, who will be campaigning in Melbourne.
Mr Morrison wants to spend $70 million on upgrading sports facilities and creating high performance facilities.
He’s also promised $15 million to set up a permanent home in Melbourne for the national women’s soccer team, the Matildas. Senator McKenzie said the government wants women athletes to have high performance facilities “just like the guys do”.” (Source)
Existing party policies specifically related to gender (where one or more could be readily identified):
The Labor Party: Australian Women – Labor’s Plan for Equality. “A Shorten Labor Government will put achieving gender equality for Australian women at the centre of our priorities with a National Strategy for Gender Equality.” This translates into more than $1.2 billion in hand-outs.
In January 2019 I was blocked from the twitter stream of the CEO of NTV, Jacqui Watt, without explanation. I became aware of Jacqui’s stream via browsing the Twitter stream @OurWatch CEO, Patty Kinnersly. (Credit to Patty for not blocking me, although I am blocked from the OurWatch general account)
“The State Government is developing a 10 Year Strategy for Reducing Family and Domestic Violence in Western Australia (the Strategy). It will guide a whole of community approach to prevention and earlier intervention, victim safety and perpetrator accountability.
The Strategy will include a focus on access and inclusion, and consider the unique and diverse needs of Aboriginal people, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+ people, and people in regional and remote Western Australia.”
The proposed vision of the strategy is stated as being “A future where all Western Australians live free from family and domestic violence, and where women and children are safe, respected, valued and treated as equals in private and public life.”
So bad luck if you believe the government also has a duty to keep men safe, respected and valued. Nah-ah. Not a priority. Not gonna happen. And yet another instance of #GenderEqualityWhenItSuits.
The relevant page in the WA government agency’s web site is here. In February 2020 that web page states “Survey responses, written submissions and messages to the Minister have now closed“. A completion date for the project is not noted.
By way of background, other references related to West Australian ‘initiatives’ or news can be found here.
I queried whether (in the UK) more children were killed by their mother or father, and I included a link to an earlier post I prepared regarding filicide that shows, amongst other things, that in Australia the biological mother kills more children.
Another poster then provided a link to a 2013 University of Manchester article entitled ‘Findings from most in-depth study into UK parents who kill their children‘. The study relied upon a 10-year consecutive case series of convicted homicides and homicide-suicides (01/01/97-31/12/06) in England and Wales. That paper defined ‘filicide’ as “a homicide committed by a parent or adult in-loco parentis, with the victim aged under 18.”
The article noted that:
“Overall, fathers were significantly more likely to kill their children than mothers, and were more likely to use violent methods of killing, have previous convictions for violent offences, perpetrate multiple killings, and have a history of substance misuse or dependence.”
I sought to verify the statistical source and compare this with other sources or studies available online, for which I then went hunting. So what did I find? Well it was interesting (though I note that my research is to be continued as time permits and as I receive responses to both my Twitter posts and this blog post).
Soon afterwards another poster assured me that fathers killed more children, and added “if you factor in that there are only 2% of males who are stay-at-home parents, the vast majority of single parents are women and women do the vast majority of child-rearing, if you considered hours by capita on childcare then the stats would be vastly skewed against men.” He/she then provided a link to a 2017 article in The Conversation entitled ‘Understanding the triggers for filicide will help prevent it‘. If you can spare the time be sure to note the readers comments. My requests for further related/supporting reference works were declined.
“The paper presents information that appears skewed that hides certain details of the sampling. It notes that the significant majority of perpetrators are fathers but this includes Step fathers that is a social construct. This figure portrays fathers as being more likely to kill a child when in fact it is mothers & their partners that are more likely to be the perpetrators. The fathers protective role is supported by the fact that step mothers commit only 2% (in one case) of the cases. Other research in the US including DOJ and Dept of Child Services show that the largest perpetrators of filicide in children under 1 year old are biological mothers.
Do not see a break down of biological fathers vs biological mothers role, and the insistence of including the artificial mix of step fathers/mothers only serve to skew the impressions the media is likely to interpret from this article. The inclusion of step fathers with speaking about fathers is a common ploy seen in media to portray fathers in bad light. In my local area, in the overwhelming majority of times the word “father” is used in a negative context committing a crime against a child, its in fact a step father or mothers boyfriend.
Your statement “Overall, a significantly higher proportion of fathers than mothers were convicted of filicide; a male to female ratio = 2:1” is problematic. You are using courtroom outcomes to determine guilt and severity. We know from several studies that women receive lighter sentences for the same crimes/circumstances in about that same ratio. Examining the data chart is even more troubling. 84 out of 195 male perpetrators (don’t know how you can include step fathers as having committed filicide unless he kills his own biological children) receive the charge of murder compared with 9 out of 102 female perpetrators.
My hypothesis from data collected from government sources in the US, it is clear that the biological fathers role is very protective compared to all other parent ‘figures’. It appears this is also correct in your data if you were to solve a few simple linear equations to arrive at the ratios of biological fathers to mothers as well, and treat each demographic separately. But the statement you make that “I am going to presume that this is by design and qualifies as an example of the “WAW” effect which is a form of bias.”
“Vast differences in the definitions of perpetrator categories only allowed crude comparisons across countries. Categorisation of perpetrators into parents, other family members, acquaintances, strangers and unknown did not capture nuances such as, for example, mothers’ boyfriends, who were considered as acquaintances as there was a lack of information on whether they were solid family members or casual relationships.”
My initial observations include:
That most statistical sources and the papers based on them were relatively dated
That papers were inclined to focus more on the gender of victims rather than perpetrators
That explanations or factors contributing to the crime were sought and discussed more in the case of female perpetrators, than for male perpetrators. In the case of women, the two most common factors seem to be that women spend more time with children and are hence more likely to harm them, and that female killers are more likely to be found to be younger and/or mentally ill.
That the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim was usually identified, but not clearly detailed in the case of differentiating biological father, step father or de-facto partner.
That an unknown, but possibly quite significant, number of murders are apparently excluded from being classed as filicide due to mental illness on the part of the murderer. This would reduce the ratio of female to males sentenced.
Given however that the media repeats the same theme in various western countries on a fairly regular basis, I have decided that it merits its own post here. But don’t take my word for it, just try word-searching on google, twitter, etc, using terms like ‘World Cup domestic violence’ or ‘Super Bowl domestic violence’ to find examples such as those listed below.
But wait, a variation on the theme – it is alleged that people (men, of course) are more inclined to beat their partners after natural disasters. The ‘proof’ offered is (you’ll never guess!) calls for assistance from alleged female victims of abuse, offered up by staff of feminist agencies/NGO’s with a vested interest in any bumps in call volume.
And next thing you know it is claimed that climate change is also a trigger for increasing level of domestic violence against women. Google search on ‘domestic violence climate change’ (for example) for more on this topic:
(Update 1 April 2020: Now not only are firemen labelled as likely domestic abusers, but according to state government Minister Lisa Neville, so too are recreational/sporting shooters. Don’t bother asking the date of the last time that a licensed firearm user was convicted of a DV-related murder in Victoria. You know she’s right)
The most recent variation on this theme are media statements regarding the real and imagined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of domestic violence. This topic is addressed in this other blog post.